Title: Listening for the Shepherd’s Voice

John 10:1-10

“Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what he was saying to them. So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. [NRSA]

We have gathered here today to reflect on the words of our Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verses 1 through 10. In these verses, Jesus teaches us about the importance of being attentive to His voice as our Good Shepherd and the vital role of faith and belief in our lives as His disciples. Let us open our hearts and minds to the message He has for us today.

I. The Sheep and the Shepherd (John 10:1-5)

In the beginning of our passage, Jesus tells us a parable about a shepherd who enters the sheepfold through the gate. He explains that those who try to enter by any other means are thieves and robbers. The gatekeeper opens the gate for the shepherd, and the sheep recognize his voice. The shepherd calls each sheep by name and leads them out of the fold.

My paternal grandfather was farmer. He raised corn, soybeans, and cotton, as well as chickens, cows, and hogs. I was amazed how the animal would follow his directions, “Yahh”, “SuEEEE” “ComOnNow.” He would ask me and my cousins to try to help but they seldom followed our commands because we were not there day in and day out, morning and evening. Our voice could copy the same sounds, but we would never be the same voice.

This parable teaches us that, as disciples of Christ, we must be discerning in recognizing the voice of our Shepherd amidst the noise and distractions of the world. There are many voices that vie for our attention, but only one voice will lead us to eternal life – the voice of Jesus Christ.

We dare not speak about money or we are accused of being greedy by those outside the church, all the while tickets to watch the Dawgs play can go for hundreds, and Taylor Swift can command thousands and fans are glad to pay.

II. The Gate and the Sheepfold (John 10:7-10)

Jesus further expounds on the parable by identifying Himself as the gate for the sheep. He says that those who enter through Him will be saved, and they will find pasture. Jesus then contrasts Himself with the thief, whose only aim is to steal, kill, and destroy. Jesus, as the Good Shepherd, has come so that His sheep may have life and have it abundantly.

As disciples of Christ, we must recognize that Jesus is the gate, the way to salvation. We are called to put our faith and belief in Him and follow His guidance. In doing so, we will experience the abundant life He has promised.

We are living in a culture that places salvation in the eyes of the beholder instead of eyes of Christ. These are persons, institutions, and ideologies that offer or seek an alternative to God. These are not to be confused with Jesus. These are the thieves that would steal freedom, kill spirits, and destroy the name and work of God.

Jesus gives a controversial lesson, that other religions might lead one to God, but no one completely finds God without dealing with the Gate, and that Gate is Jesus.

III. Listening for Signs of Faith and Belief

The charge to us as disciples and hearers of this parable of the Gate is to be aware of the voice that is Jesus, our shepherd.

A. Attentiveness to the Shepherd’s Voice

As we seek to grow in our faith and belief, we must be attentive to the voice of our Good Shepherd. He speaks to us through His Word, the Bible, and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is essential for us to spend time in prayer and in the study of Scripture, for these are the primary means through which we hear His voice.

B. Discerning the Voice of Truth

Our work is to surround ourselves with the voice of Jesus so that we can distinguish between the competing voices of the world.

In our journey of faith, we will encounter various voices that claim to offer truth and guidance. We must be discerning in recognizing the voice of Jesus amidst these voices. This discernment comes through a deepening relationship with Christ and a commitment to seeking His will in all things.

Discernment takes place in our heart and minds, but there is another step: Responding to our discernment of Christ’s direction.

C. Responding to the Shepherd’s Call

As we grow in our ability to hear and recognize the voice of Jesus, we must also respond to His call. This means putting our faith and belief into action, following the guidance of our Good Shepherd, and walking in His footsteps. Our obedience to His call is a sign of our faith and belief in Him.


  • Let us commit ourselves to being attentive listeners for the voice of our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.
  • May we grow in faith and belief as we discern His voice amidst the noise and distractions of this world.
  • And may we respond to His call,
  • following Him wherever He leads, and experiencing the abundant life He has promised. Amen.

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